Top 10 women’s tennis players of the Open era

To understand what ‘Open era’ means, please click here:

I started following tennis in the mid-90s during the height of Sampras and Graf’s dominance. Obviously I have my biases since I haven’t exactly witnessed how all the players played and how ‘dominant’ they were way back then. Normally, the most dominant player on tour is the world number 1 (and vice versa) and usually do well in slams. But a player, like 2-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, can win a slam and not be the most dominant nor the number 1 player in the world as had been in many occasions.

While being the “best” in the world is quite a feat, I don’t give it much weight in ranking the players. This is mainly due to the fact that a couple of players namely Dinara Safina and Jelena Jankovic have been ranked 1 (even longer than Venus Williams or Evonne Googalong) but have never won a Grand Slam.

I give equal importance that a player performs well in both singles and doubles, especially in slams. We often see those players who really excel either men or women focus mainly on singles but rarely do we see a player who is just as dominant in singles as in doubles.

This is a completely and highly opinionated list. My only bases are the stats available on them.

Top 10 women’s tennis players

10. Monica Seles

53 singles titles out of 85 finals
6 doubles titles out of 9 finals
178 weeks at No.1 in singles
9 Grand Slam titles out of 13 finals (all singles)
3 WTA Year-end Tour Championships (all singles)
1 Olympic bronze medal (singles)
*She is the youngest-ever French Open singles titlist at the age of 16 years, 6 months in 1990.

9. Martina Hingis

43 singles titles out of 69 finals
38 doubles titles out of 52 finals
1 mixed doubles title out of 1 final
209 weeks at No.1 in singles
35 weeks at No.1 in doubles
14 Grand Slam titles
5 Grand Slam singles titles out of 12 finals
9 Grand Slam doubles titles out of 12 finals
1 Grand Slam mixed doubles title out of 1 final
4 WTA Year-end Tour Championships (2 singles, 2 doubles)
*By defeating Monica Seles 6-2, 6-1 in 1997 at Key Biscayne, ascended the no. 1 spot as the youngest ever in tennis history.

8. Venus Williams (active player, aged 32)

44 singles titles out of 71 finals++
21 doubles titles out of 22 finals
2 mixed doubles titles out of 3 finals
11 weeks at No.1 in singles
8 weeks at No.1 in doubles
22 Grand Slam titles
7 Grand Slam singles titles out of 14 finals
13 Grand Slam doubles titles out of 13 finals
2 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles out of 3 finals
1 WTA Year-end Tour Championships (singles)
4 Olympic gold medals (1 singles, 3 doubles)
*Her 35-match winning streak from the 2000 Wimbledon Championships to the 2000 Generali Ladies Linz tournament final is the longest winning streak since January 1, 2000.

++as at March 3, 2013

7. Evonne Goolagong Cawley

68 singles titles
7 doubles titles
1 mixed doubles title
2 weeks at No.1 in singles
14 Grand Slam titles
7 Grand Slam singles titles out of 11 finals
6 Grand Slam doubles titles out of 6 finals
1 Grand Slam mixed doubles title out of 1 final
2 WTA Year-end Tour Championships (both singles)
*Goolagong made seven consecutive finals at the Australian Open, winning four, both records for the open era.

6. Serena Williams (active player, aged 32)

57 singles titles out of 74 finals++
22 doubles titles out of 23 finals
2 mixed doubles titles out of 4 finals
160 weeks at No.1 in singles (currently holding the spot)
8 weeks at No.1 in doubles
30 Grand Slam titles
17 Grand Slam singles titles out of 21 finals
13 Grand Slam doubles titles out of 13 finals
2 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles out of 4 finals
4 WTA Year-end Tour Championships (all singles)
4 Olympic gold medals (1 singles, 3 doubles)
*She is the only tennis player (male or female) to have a Career Golden Grand Slam in both singles and doubles.

++updated last Oct. 28, 2013

5. Chris Evert

157 singles titles
32 doubles titles
260 weeks at No.1 in singles
21 Grand Slam titles
18 Grand Slam singles titles out of 34 finals
3 Grand Slam doubles titles out of 4 finals
4 WTA Year-end Tour Championships (all singles)
*Evert’s career win–loss record in singles matches of 1,309–146 (.900) is the best of any professional player in tennis history.

4. Billie Jean King

129 singles titles out of 183 finals (84 during open era)
87 doubles titles out of 124 finals
11 mixed doubles titles
5 non-consecutive years at No.1 in singles
12 non-consecutive years at No.1 in doubles
39 Grand Slam titles
12 Grand Slam singles titles out of 18 finals
16 Grand Slam doubles titles out of 29 finals
11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles out of 18 finals
4 WTA Year-end Tour Championships (1 singles, 3 doubles)
*Oldest player to win professional Tour title by winning 1983 Birmingham at 39 years, 7 months, 23 days.

3. Steffi Graf

107 singles titles out of 132 finals
11 doubles titles out of 18 finals
377 weeks at No.1 in singles
23 Grand Slam titles
22 Grand Slam singles title out of 31 finals
1 Grand Slam doubles title out of 4 finals
5 WTA Year-end Tour Championships (all singles)
1 Olympic gold medal (singles)
1 Olympic silver medal (singles)
1 Olympic bronze medal (doubles)
*Graf became the first and only tennis player (male or female) to achieve the Calendar Year Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year.

2. Margaret Court

192 singles titles out of 300 finals (92 during open era)
19 doubles titles out of 33 finals
19 mixed doubles titles out of 23 finals
6 non-consecutive years at No.1 in singles
62 Grand Slam titles
24 Grand Slam singles titles out of 29 finals
19 Grand Slam doubles titles out of 33 finals
19 mixed doubles titles out of 23 finals
1 WTA Year-end Tour Championships (doubles)
*Court is the only person to have won all 12 Grand Slam events at least twice.

1. Martina Navratilova

167 singles titles out of 239 finals
177 doubles titles out of 223 finals
15 mixed doubles out of 22 finals
332 weeks at No.1 in singles
237 weeks at No.1 in doubles
59 Grand Slam titles
18 Grand Slam singles titles out of 32 finals
31 Grand Slam doubles titles out of 37 finals
10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles out of 16 finals
19 WTA Year-end Tour Championships (8 singles, 11 doubles)
*She holds the open era record for most singles titles (167) and doubles titles (177). She recorded the longest winning streak in the open era (74 consecutive matches).

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9 thoughts on “Top 10 women’s tennis players of the Open era

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  3. dude what is this i dont even.. LOL. i ❤ steffi graf, she's # 1 on my list. 😀 navratilova was a machine dude, SINGLES and DOUBLES?!? wtf. but hey, great list yo!

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  5. very good appraisal of past and present players. and using doubles gives a better insight. though i still think graff would beat martina when both at there best. goolagong would have scared graff on grass .

    1. most tennis fans forget that being good in doubles is just as impressive as in singles. matter of fact, being good in doubles gives so much more dimension to the player’s game, hence making him/her a much effective player.

      I’m just not sure if I agree that steffi would beat martina when both at their best. I’m angling more on martina’s side. I can imagine how martina would be toying with the much-too one-sided player steffi. but surely, goolagong would have made steffi run for her money on grass.

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